This Florida Public Official Shows What Responsible Gun Ownership Looks Like

palmetto brian williams commissioner shoots burglar

Sgt. Audrey Hayes via US Army Reserve

Brian Williams, a city commissioner from Palmetto, Florida, was recently involved in a self-defense incident, and he handled it perfectly. It was around 10 p.m. on December 27 when Williams’ nearby neighbor, Avelino Misreal Vasquez-Perez, was spotted driving recklessly by police. Thinking he might be impaired, they attempted to pull him over.

Instead of complying, Vasquez-Perez floored it and, only a few blocks down the road, crashed straight into the side of a home.

Vasquez-Perez then abandoned the vehicle, climbed a fence and ended up in Williams’ back yard. He then broke into Williams’ garage and waited there, hiding. Unfortunately for Vasquez-Perez, the commissioner’s daughter, who lives next door, saw something unusual happening in her dad’s yard and gave him a call.

Williams then armed himself and headed to the garage, where he confronted Vasquez-Perez at gunpoint. Williams told Vasquez-Perez to get on the ground, but the intruder didn’t listen: instead, he punched Williams and attempted to barge past him through the door into the house. That’s when Williams pushed Vasquez-Perez back and fired two rounds, hitting him twice.

When police arrived, Vasquez-Perez surrendered to them and was transported to a hospital. He is expected to recover fully. He’s been charged with resisting arrest without violence, burglary and battery in addition to traffic citations. Williams will not face charges.

Williams did not express anger toward Vasquez-Peres. Instead, he simply stated, “I am glad that everything turned out the way it did. I guess he is doing okay, and we are happy and glad that no one in my family was hurt.”

 

We applaud Commissioner Williams for doing exactly what any responsible gun owner would do: He responded to a threat on his life with no more (and no less) force than was necessary to defend himself and his family.

This is a portrayal of American gun ownership you won’t often get from the mainstream media, which is why we try to report on and archive as many defensive gun uses as we can.

comments

  1. avatar frank speak says:

    the guys in the garage?….why confront him?…just call the cops…

    1. avatar specialist38 says:

      His house……

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        So…? People aren’t saying you legally can’t, but that doesn’t mean you should. If this bad guy had been armed he could have won that fight and would suddenly have had an easy way into the house (thanks for opening the door, sucker!) where the family was waiting. The whole ‘house is a castle’ thing works two ways, and sallying forth into a room already controlled by a bad guy usually makes no sense unless there’s something in there you need to protect with your life. Aiming your gun at the door he might try to get through is a much better posture. Not only is there a good chance he might not try or succeed getting in, but if starts to

        But hey, if it’s such a terrible violation that a bad guy breaks into your garage that you feel the need to endanger yourself and your family to be da man… no one’s stopping you.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Aiming your gun at the door he might try to get through is a much better posture.”

          Hooo, hooo, hooo. As the attorney for the shootee, I smell “lying in wait”.

          The homeowner could have called police, could have shouted through the closed door to the garage that he had called the police and was armed, could have called police and vacated through another door (the shootee in the garage posed no obstacle to the homeowner safely leaving), but instead, chose to lie in wait, hoping the shootee would try to break in. By not calling police and warning the shootee, the homeowner was entrapping the shootee into thinking he was safe and could freely enter the home. The homeowner was thus engaging in entrapment.

          Any reasonable person would have fled. Any reasonable person would not think to aim at the door and quietly wait for the shootee to enter. Only a person intent on killing someone would think to do that. And because the majority of jurors are not gun nuts, they likely think a reasonable person would get to safety, not defend replaceable possessions, or hold his family inside a home where the likelihood of armed conflict was very high.

          Ca ching, ca ching, ca ching

    2. avatar joefoam says:

      Sure, just wait outside for the cops. Maybe he won’t go into the house and kill one of your family while you’re waiting. Hell yes, confront him and put an end to the threat.

      1. avatar Big Bill says:

        If the bad guy is known to be in the garage, the good guy can easily stay in whatever room the garage connects with (in my house, it’s the kitchen) and cover the door while waiting for the police.

        1. avatar Terclinger says:

          “If the bad guy is known to be in the garage, the good guy can easily stay in whatever room the garage connects with…”

          While the bad guy lights your car on fire and burns down your house, your neighbor’s house, etc.

        2. avatar Big Bill says:

          In most cases, that’s not what happens.
          If it does, then, while he’s busy, you can sneak in by opening that squeaky door and tripping over the hose you figured you’d put away tomorrow and get yourself killed by the bad guy who was holding a gun while torching your car, who then proceeds to go inside your house (neatly stepping over your dead body), rape your wife and six year old daughter and four year old boy, leave them to burn to a crisp, then call the police, and shoot at them from your back yard when they finally respond.
          See how hypothetical games work? I know how to play them, too.
          In reality, though, you are far safer not attempting to clear your house. Those who have the actual job of doing that don’t attempt it alone, primarily because it’s far easier to ambush someone who’s advancing that someone who’s waiting to ambush you. These trained people use teams to clear buildings, knowing that far safer for all concerned.
          What about your family? They are far safer with you, waiting with you, than they would be after you got killed because you wanted to play hero.

    3. avatar The other Larry in TX says:

      Citizen’s Arrest, heard of it?

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        you know, people always say “never talk to the police, call a lawyer”- well, that’s fine, but I’d really suggest calling a lawyer that practices in your jurisdiction before you try citizen arresting someone. The civil liability and potential criminal liability if you screw up is life-altering.

    4. avatar Mikial says:

      Another second guesser. The guy helped bring a criminal to custody. Job well done.

    5. avatar Tom T says:

      Call police because you hear a noise? Or because someone called and said there was “something unusual”? I really can’t see myself doing that.

      1. avatar BRUCE CLARK says:

        In this case you might be injured or dead. Or you could just cower, wait and hope for the best.

    6. avatar Buff cousin Elroy says:

      F that. There’s an intruder in my house I’m going to confront them, aggressively, not cower in some back bedroom…

  2. avatar Ralph says:

    He should have just called the cops.

    The police would have waited outside the garage until the sounds of gunshots faded away. Then they would have burst in and shot the homeowner.

    And every cop would have gone home safe that night, which is all that matters.

    1. avatar Nigel the expat says:

      Ralph, as usual, gets it right in one.

      1. avatar Dave in PTC Georgia says:

        Ralph for the win!

  3. avatar possum says:

    Because it’s my garage, with my air in it, and its on my properties, and on my property I am the cops.

  4. avatar Cruzo1981 says:

    Everyone asking why not wait for the cops? They have no official responsibility to put themselves in harm’s way or any official responsibility to protect or defend you. Think about that for a minute…

    1. avatar think ahead says:

      Hit that nail right on the head, remember Parkland school shooting in Florida (same state). Lawsuit against LE is using the court ruling that they have no obligation to protect citizens to not pay out. Better to protect yourself just in case, and don’t make the mistake of pointing your firearm when LE does show up.

    2. avatar neiowa says:

      And I really don’t what the cops prowling around on my property, in my in my garage, or in my home digging thru my teenage daughter’s underwear drawer. All of which will likely happen if I “lie in wait outside” or just go in and shoot the SOB.

      The Commissioner needs to get more gun or more ammunition.

  5. avatar Pmac says:

    Technically, an attached garage is part of the domicile. Ergo, the homeowner’s action was legal under the castle doctrine and probably stand your ground too. That doesn’t make his actions tactically sound. Without the benefit of reading the reports, seeing the crime scene, etc. I’ll offer up a suggestion.
    1. Homeowner arms himself.
    2. Secures all innocents in the residence, if
    any.
    3. Take a covered position with a good field of
    fire at the door. A.K.A “the funnel of death”
    and remember, that funnel works both
    ways. The good guy went through it not
    who was waiting for him. Could have been
    a homicide or robbery suspect.
    4. If bad guy forces entry into living quarters
    turn him into a bullet sponge.

    1. avatar possum says:

      Technicalities be damned. I don’t care if the tresspassers in the outhouse on the back 40, You shouldn’t be there unless I gave you the key.

      1. avatar GunnyGene says:

        Absolutely. Unfortunately some States are less enlightened than others. What passes as a justifiable shooting in MS would put you in jail in NJ, CA, etc. Down here; “He just needed killin'” , is still a valid defense. 🙂

      2. avatar Pmac says:

        Possom, I get what you’re saying and I know you made an extreme example to make a point. But, really, you don’t want to shoot, especially kill, someone if it can be avoided. Even if justified, you’re going to get an education in the legal system and it’s going to take a big bite out of your wallet. I’ve seen second mortgages taken out to cover it. We haven’t even started talking about civil liability. Justified or not. The main point of my comment was that there is no reason, in fact it is foolish, to give up a tactically sound position to go into the unknown. The military and law enforcement sometimes have to do it, but they knew what they were signing up for when they did it. Oh, I hope you wouldn’t shoot a lost hunter taking a dump in an old out house on the back forty. Just in case you were serious, that is.

        1. avatar BRUCE CLARK says:

          I knew what I was signing up for when I got married and had kids. If the bum rushed me and tried to over power me he’d probably have the magizine emptied in his ass. If he gets by me, who’s going to protect my family? When the cops are god only knows how far away? Sorry pal, if someone breaks into my garage, he’s going to end up shot if I have anything to say about it. And in Florida there isn’t a jury anywhere that’s going to convict me because of the “Castle Rule” and “Stand your Ground” law.

        2. avatar possum says:

          It would have to get pretty serious if I was to shoot someone. I just remember when duty to retreat was a thing and I’ve never been a fan of that

    2. avatar Geoff "You'll shoot your eye out, kid!" PR says:

      “Technically, an attached garage is part of the domicile.”

      In Florida, that is 100 percent correct…

    3. avatar Sam I Am says:

      Wasn’t there a case last year (maybe 2017) where a homeowner was jailed for a similar garage incident?

  6. avatar enuf says:

    You have the option of not confronting the intruder. It’s an option, not a requirement. It is your home so you decide how you want to handle it.

    Within, of course, the limits of laws, whether foolishly written or otherwise, to such extent that you wish to contend with the potential negatives.

    But it’s still your home darn it!

    And yeah, the police will eventually help you but have no duty to do so or to succeed if they try.

  7. avatar LarryinTX says:

    I am not going to accept that he did everything right until we discover whether he bought a bigger gun, more effective ammo, or both. Two shots at hands-on distance should not have the perp surrendering to anyone.

  8. avatar Dick Giddings says:

    There are those among us with confidence enough in their accuracy to lay couple of disabling shots out there. Unfortunately, as our Chief of Police told me many years ago, dead people don’t sue. I am less sure of that nowadays, as the family will sue… So, shoot if you must to save your life, and then pay $100,000 or so for attorney fees.

    1. avatar BRUCE CLARK says:

      In Florida if you win the Criminal case you can’t be sued in a Civil case by anyone.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “In Florida if you win the Criminal case you can’t be sued in a Civil case by anyone.”

        Not expert (or informed) on Florida law, but…in my location, an acquittal on a criminal charge is not the end of the “case”. The prosecuting DA must file a notice that the case is considered closed, and no further action related is contemplated. Until that document is filed, civil suit may be filed for “wrongful” death/injury.

        “The law” is tricky for a reason.

  9. avatar Mark N. says:

    Although apparently legal, I too question the necessity of the shooting, since it appeared that Mr. Perp was trying to escape, but was pushed back by the homeowner and then shot. Seems to me a questionable “in fear of imminent serious bodily injury or death” circumstance.

    1. avatar dph says:

      Yeah right, he was trying to escape by going into the house instead of out the way he came in. Plus the homeowner has no idea why this asshole is in his garage and no way of knowing whether he’s armed or not. Seem questionable huh? That POS is lucky he’s not laying on slab right now.

    2. avatar General Zod says:

      Read it again – the intruder was trying to push past the resident and gain entry from the garage into the interior of the house. The homeowner was defending his wife and any other family members within. That is very definitely a justified shooting.

  10. avatar Brad says:

    Can you say CHA CHING!! The perp will hire a lawyer, get a fat settlement from the Commissioner’s homeowners insurance while said homeowner will lose his insurance and have to pay through the nose to renew (if he can). Meanwhile the miscreant is blowing through his “winnings” until he’s broke and living off the money Bernie says he’s entitled to. Ain’t ‘Merica great?

    1. avatar BRUCE CLARK says:

      Not in Florida he won’t. You are exempt from a civil liability case if you are innocent of the criminal case associated with it. No State Attorney will persue a Civil Liability case if you’re exonerated of any wrong doing. Most State Attornies wont even touch a Stand your Ground defense in the first place.

      1. avatar Pmac says:

        State Attorneys don’t pursue civil cases. Trial lawyers do. Just because you’re acquitted doesn’t mean you can’t be sued. Aquittel works to your advantage, but remember, trial lawyers work on contingency. You pay out of pocket for your defense.

  11. avatar GS650G says:

    Benelli M1 90 with #4 buck cleans the garage of any trash I find.

  12. avatar Pmac says:

    I caught that about the suspect trying to push by into the living quarters. First, good chance he wouldn’t have been trying to do that if the homeowner hadn’t opened the door. Second, that information is coming from the press. They never get it wrong. Right?

    1. avatar BRUCE CLARK says:

      PMAC, are you a troll or something? Where does it say in the artical that the homeowner left the door to the interior of his house unlocked? The meare fact that he forcfully tried to get past the homeowner would tell any rational sane person that he needed to pe stopped pronto. The Criminal is lucky ke didn’t get killed by the homeowner. The homeowner showed great restraint in not doing so. Are you even from Florida? If not, what makes you an expert on Floridas laws?

      1. avatar Pmac says:

        Read my reply a little further down. Every bit of it is accurate and truthful. Invitations are sincere.

      2. avatar Pmac says:

        I didn’t say the homeowner left the door unlocked. The article said the homeowner went into the garage. I inferred the homeowner opened the door. (I keep the door from my laundry room/garage closed.) Don’t know if it was locked. Should be.

      3. avatar Pmac says:

        Bruce, I’ve made several replies to your posts challenging me, but all I hear are crickets chirping. Did you retire to your armchair and doze off reading the latest issue of Commando magazine?

  13. avatar Anonymous says:

    LOL.

    Of course there will be no charges against the “commissioner.”

    LOL

    1. avatar Pmac says:

      Thought of that too. In reality since the good guy is high profile it will probably stay in the local press even longer. Even if the s a liberal Democrat, the press will tear them down. They’re cannibals. They will eat they’re own. Remember, he used a firearm. If he’s a conservative? He’s toast.

  14. avatar Darkman says:

    Black Jack followed by Gator food.

  15. avatar Yarbles says:

    Should’a shot him better.

  16. avatar GunnyGene says:

    The word “responsible” is a subjective opinion. Who decides who is “responsible” and by what criteria?

  17. avatar Pmac says:

    Bruce, first I said arm yourself. Second, I said secure the innocents. Third, I said take a covered position with a field of fire covering the point of entry. That puts you between the bad guy and your family. And at a significant advantage over him if he comes into your space as opposed to you going into his. It’s called an ambush. Google infantry tactics. Or, maybe your lawnmower has more sentimental value than mine.

  18. avatar Pmac says:

    Also Bruce, my army MOS was 11B1P. Airborne Infantry. From Florida? Born and raised. Mother’s family took advantage of the homestead act. Great grandfather fought at the Battle of Natural Bridge. Repulsed the Yankee invaders into the Gulf of Mexico. Tallahassee is the only Confederate States of America not captured by the Union. Expert on Florida statues? Well, I’m not an attorney, but I did spend almost 25 years in Florida as an L.E.O. With a specialty in firearms law. Testified as an expert witness on firearms more than once. Won the top gun trophy in my academy class. Certified law enforcement firearms instructor. Advanced firearms instructor. Precision marksman (sniper.) Patrol carbine. Tactical pistol. Tactical rifle. I could go on, but I’m sure even you get the point. Before retiring, and working investigations, I was dual sworn as a Deputy U.S. Marshal as a member of the N. FL Violent Fugitive Task Force. Google N. FL Institute of Public Safety. Let me know when you can meet me there. I’ll buy you lunch at the cafeteria. Or! Better yet, I’ll be shooting quail tomorrow about 30 miles west of Tallahassee. One of the other hunters is a retired FDLE agent and my best friend. He was the head firearms instructor for FDLE. Maybe you can discuss gunfight tactics with him. Those Bona Fides good enough for you?

  19. avatar Pmac says:

    Also, I’m a dinosaur. What’s a troll? I mean I remember them from reading fairy tales to my children, but I don’t live under a bridge.

    1. avatar possum says:

      Me too, I thought trolls got knocked off bridges by goats, then I hear your trolling, and I think fish, now I’m hearing Phishing. They lost me when they said their computer had a mouse?

  20. avatar Truckman says:

    you come in my yard you are trespassing you enter any out building you are trying to steal something and might get shot you enter my house you will be shot no ifs ands or buts you will be going to hospital or morgue best thing don’t come on my place if you are not supposed to be there

    1. avatar Pmac says:

      Truck, was a day and time the whole outbuilding thing was good to go. Not anymore. Entering your home? Center mass until he’s on the ground. When I went through a couple of Bill Roger’s classes years ago he taught head shots only with pistols. On pneumatic 8″ steel plates. Some exposure time for a plate was .5 second. You had to be on your game. Now you go to prison for killing an asshole stealing your tools from your shop 50 yards from your house. Not saying it’s right. Just reality. So. Are the tools the asswipes are sealing worth prison time? You’re going to have to sell them for legal fees anyway. Unless you have six figures in the bank. You want to go out and challenge him? Go ahead. If he does ANYTHING but offer lethal force and you shoot him you can kiss your own ass goodbye. I know a couple of stories from the good old days, but the good guys would die in the Department of Corrections today. Not right, but it is.

      1. avatar possum says:

        Didn’t kill me in 94. Last year I did three days in county, DV charge( wife used cops for her stick) , that shit mattress and food would have killed me if I’d have to have done six months. Old people like me can’t go that food, mattress, and turn off the damned lights at night, not just dim, off. BTW Ive only had three confrontations in the pen, one a guy sat in my place, the other a guy took my cups of bolts and nuts, Got payed .35 cents a day I think it was? for putting the nuts on bolts then put them in a cup to be packaged later, and the other one was a guy just didn’t like the way I looked.

  21. avatar Sora says:

    BULL SHIT.
    A Responsible use of gun would have meant that guy was dead from the first shot.
    You don’t shoot an animal multiple times during a hunt, you shoot one shot kill to be ethical.
    Same applies. Choose a capable caliber and aim at the vials to kill in one shot.
    That’s responsible gun use.
    Now you’re going to get sued with the guy saying “I had my hands up and he shot me!”

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      yeah you’re gonna end up in jail if you ever shoot someone. “But youR honor! It waS an ethical hUnt!”

  22. avatar Thumzlock says:

    No charges, but now you’ve got a guy walking around who may feel like he’s gonna settle the score and he knows where he lives and where his daughter lives. This happened in my county and we have MS13 and other gangs here. I would have waited.

  23. avatar FB says:

    I can vouch that end result and verdict would not be the same in all states.

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